Busted Brackets, Seventy-Three Wins, and the Central Division

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

All start times listed in EST.

NCAA Tournament– #1 North Carolina vs. #5 Indiana

I’ve never in my life picked a bracket as poorly as the one I did for this year’s tournament. It’s just awful. Gonzaga, who I thought couldn’t possibly upset yet another team, has safely waltzed into the Sweet Sixteen. In the West region, it seemed hysterical to me if another UNC—Wilmington!—beat out Duke in the first round. So of course I picked them and they quickly proved that only Chapel Hill can hang with the Blue Devils for more than a half.

Fortunately, for my pride and the twenty bucks I have in the family pool, Michigan State burned everybody losing to the 15th-seeded Middle Tennessee State University.

That leaves North Carolina, my pick to win it all (and the subject of last week’s podcast), as the only path to a payday. Which is why this week’s big game to watch is #1 North Carolina vs. #5 Indiana. Besides, all the fun underdogs got knocked out last night–thanks a lot Obama Hawaii.

Keep your eye on the Tar Heels power forward Brice Johnson, who can easily go for 20 and 20 and is guaranteed at least one rim-rocking put back. The Hoosiers, who haven’t made the Elite Eight since 2002, knocked off next year’s NBA All-Rookie Team—I mean the Kentucky Wildcats—in a close one, and will put Carolina through their toughest test since the ACC Championship.

The last time these two teams played this late in the tourney Michael Jordan was involved.

When: Friday, March 25th – 9:57PM

Where to Watch: TBS

Golden State vs. Los Angeles Clippers

The Warriors quest for seventy-three wins became a bit more difficult over the weekend after losing to San Antonio in Texas on Saturday night. Curry, who went just 1 for 12 from three in the loss, should get a confidence boost when he faces the Timberwolves tonight and carry that momentum into another epic clash with the Los Angeles Clippers this Wednesday at Oracle Arena.

Golden State has won all three meetings between the two this season, including a phenomenal come-from-behind victory on November 19th in Los Angeles (which we also featured on our podcast). The Clippers sit in fourth place in the Western Conference and will look to grab at least one win this season in the series. These two in-state rivals will very likely meet in the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs, so tune in for a potential classic.

When: Tuesday, March 22nd – 10:30PM

Where to Watch: ESPN

Chicago Blackhawks vs Dallas Stars

Due to the NHL’s lackluster syndication, another contested playoff race will go largely unseen this week. In the fiercely tight Central Division, the Chicago Blackhawks will look to cut into the Dallas Stars five point lead in the standings, and with just two weeks left to play this could be their best opportunity to do so.

St. Louis Blues fans, whose team sits between the rivals, will also be keeping track of the outcome. If you subscribe to Center Ice tune in for this one. Anyone lucky enough to live in Chicago better get themselves to the game.

When: Tuesday, March 22nd – 8:30PM,

Where to Watch: Fox Sports Southwest, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, or NHL Center Ice

On the Podcast:

Last week I spoke with Patrick Stevens (@d1scourse), college basketball reporter and contributor to the Washington Post, about the Tar Heels victory in the ACC Tournament. Relive and relish how poor my UNC-Wilmington pick was at the time!

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Written By

Justin Hargett is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Eephus, and the host of The Big Game podcast.